Mark vs Cancer

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Chicken Run

For the last nine months, we've been amateur chicken farmers. But due to our imminent summer vacation and upcoming move, we gave our eleven chickens away today. It's a rather poignant moment: the end of the Chicken Era.

Last fall, we joined ranks with another family in caring for eleven hens that were housed in a chicken coop on a ranch outside of town. It was a great opportunity for our city family to get involved in some real-life agri-culture (farm work, chores, getting down and dirty), not to mention to get some delicious farm fresh eggs.

Jim, one of the dentists in town, had a spare chicken coop sitting on his beautiful ranch, and he was gracious enough to lend it for our chicken endeavors, and so twice a week we headed out to his coop nestled in the cottonwoods by a pond to feed our frenzied feathered friends.

There were four Rhode Island Red hens, four salt-and-pepper Plymouth Rock hens, and four plain old white hens, prolific egg layers all, putting out sixty to seventy eggs a week between them. Due to the egg surplus, Joy and Grant got to start their own little business, "Foster's Farm Fresh Eggs." If they collected the eggs and took care of the chickens, they got to sell them and keep the profits. Quite a business, I must say. The kids are rolling in the dough. Even Justin grew to love going out to feed the ever-bustling, ever-interesting (to a one year old at least) chickens.

Eventually, we took over sole ownership of the chickens, and finally today we bequeathed them to another young family. The whole chicken business was quite a bit of hassle, especially in the winter when it was 28 below zero, but I must say that I feel rather sad at the close of this chapter. It started out on a whim, and ended up becoming an integral, earthy part of our Worland life, a vignette of what our future might have held should we have chosen to stay in Worland longer.

But hey, they still need eggs in Colorado, right? Do you think our new suburban neighbors would mind if we erected a chicken coop in the back yard? Would eleven clucking, stinky chickens be a problem?

Come on, Colorado. Time to put that "Locally Grown Food" movement to the test!

But in seriousness, I know there is a vestigial farmer in me. I feel him clamoring to be released whenever I've been tangentially involved in farming or ranching. We hope to own our own small ranch someday: some acreage, some horses, and--gosh durn it--some chickens!


Kristen said...

Chickens scare me a little bit, but I do enjoy eating eggs. Go ahead bring em on down to Colorado, I am sure you will fit in with the neighbors.

Also, Justin looks so much older in that picture!

Lisa said...

You guys are so organic and rustic. True rural folk....chickens also scare me a tad. It must be all that "pecking".

Lisa said...

You guys are so organic and rustic. True rural folk....chickens also scare me a tad. It must be all that "pecking".

princess jen said...

Your boys are so cute!! I'm jealous you for all the fresh eggs but not for having to clean up after the chickens. Good luck in Denver!